Q is for quarter-bound

A binding which covers only the spine and the edge of the boards nearest the spine is described as ‘quarter binding.’ The amount of the board covered varies, but the binding may indeed cover one quarter, hence its name.

Quarter bindings, which use less material – leather, parchment, cloth, paper, depending on date and style – are cheaper than half bindings which cover the spine and back edge of the boards plus the outer corners of the boards. Half and quarter bindings may be described as quarter calf, half parchment, etc, naming the binding material used on the spine. Full calf, for example, describes a binding in which the full extent of the spine and boards is covered in the same material.

Common styles of binding can help to identify where and when an item was bound, or may be a recognisable ‘uniform’ such as the ‘Roxburghe style’ used for the publications of the Roxburghe Club. Their quarter bindings have a spine of brown or black leather, with the title tooled in gold, and the sides are dark-red paper-board. More recently, morocco and buckram have been used in the same colour scheme.

SPEC G.02.05: Roxburghe style binding

From the 17th century onwards, and notably in the 18th and 19th centuries, as it became usual to shelve books with the spines outward, the spines of quarter- or half-bound books lent themselves to decorative display.

SPEC Zaina C.10: leather spine decorated with gilt-tooling and colour onlay, and marbled paper boards on Paris, 1887 edition of Gautier.

This Week’s War: 198

Aside

‘Visited LONE FARM and Machine Gun Emplacements. Captain R. CARR, M. C., R. E. received orders to report to R.A.F., and handed over to new Adjutant – Captain G. S. HALLAS, M. C., R.E.’

War Diary / Intelligence Summary of University of Liverpool graduate J. H. Forshaw, Captain and Adjutant of the 55th Divisional Royal Engineers, entry dated 14th May 1918 [D113/1/2].

This Week’s War: 181

Aside

“The Bolsheviks here have realised the futility of their peace negotiations, and they’re trying to raise a volunteer army to replace the old army that they’ve destroyed. I fear they will have little success – the discipline of the existing units has been destroyed, and the officers’ authority has gone…”

Letter written by Lyon Blease to his mother during his service with the Red Cross, dated 14th January 1918, Anglo-Russian Hospital, Odessa, Ukraine. Letters of Professor Walter Lyon Blease [D55/26/5].